Kinsman: Should Canada strengthen its military presence in the Arctic?

By: /
11 July, 2011
Jeremy Kinsman
By: Jeremy Kinsman
CIC Distinguished Fellow

Presence, yes, but why “military?” Where’s the threat? Fantasies like Peter MacKay’s Russian bomber runs, or Celluci’s Northwest Passage inbound terrorists? Give us a break.

Canada deserves an Arctic settlement presence, having only 2% of circumpolar population within the Circle of 2 million and 4% of Arctic regional settlement of 4 million. Russia and Norway have Circle cities (Murmansk, Norilsk, Tromso) bigger than Canada’s entire Arctic population, because they settled it. Our population is 50% indigenous, as opposed to 4% for Russia and 15% for Norway. They have connecting road and rail links – because they have Arctic activity.

Canadian Arctic economic activity is developing – example, Yellowknife diamonds – and so is international Arctic cooperation, no thanks to Canada, which has a third of the land mass. The way to validate our claim that the Northwest Passage is internal Canadian water is by negotiation, not a costly nonsensical military deployment.

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